The trail I hiked upon today spends nearly all of its time at the dark bottom of a very deep canyon, but as it nears the end of its first mile it climbs up the east mountainside for a short distance to avoid some really nasty terrain and there a few rays of sun can penetrate to warm a small place of a hundred or so feet and provide a comfortable bed for a sprinkling of early wildflowers; today, Yellow Glacier Lilies.
Yellow Glacier Lily, Avalanche Lily, Dogtooth Violet, Erythronium grandiflorum
After hiking just a few hundred yards past the lilies I could see snow banks covering the trail and I knew that not far beyond that point the trail would be buried under deep piles of snow as it again settles into the canyon bottom and I decided to go back down.
As I turned around I began to wonder about the tracks that I could see in the snow and, because they were quite large and up to that point my tracks were the only ones on the trail, I thought they were probably those of a bear, and ventured up to the snow to see if there might be tracks of a new cub as well. But they were not bear tracks.
(For perspective, from the front of the pistol barrel to the rear sight is 6 inches.)
I was careful to leave a clear set my own tracks right beside those big paw prints to let their maker know that he is not the only lobo who roams this part of the forest.